America First Credit Union Holds 85th Annual Meeting.

Riverdale, UT – April 16, 2024 – The 85th Annual Meeting of America First Credit Union (AFCU) was held on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at 3 p.m. MDT. Linda Carver, current chair of the board of directors, welcomed both in-person and virtual attendees and thanked them for their participation. President/CEO of the Utah Credit Union Association, Scott Simpson, was in attendance along with longtime supporter of the credit union and attorney, Bruce Richards, who served as parliamentarian. Other members of the board were introduced and recognized for their many years of dedication and service to the credit union. Thayne Shaffer, President and CEO was present and recognized, along with the executive team and other members of senior management. Linda also extended a special word of gratitude towards the 3,330 well-trained and dedicated employees for their hard work within AFCU’s network of 117 branches.

A focal point of each annual meeting is the election of members to serve on the board of directors. In accordance with AFCU bylaws, three qualified candidates were identified, screened, and elected by acclamation. Barney Chapman, who serves as chair of the Nominations Committee, explained the qualifications, duties and responsibilities required of board members. Mr. Chapman announced the election results, and AFCU congratulates David McKonkie, Cathy Person, and John Spease, who will continue to serve as members of the America First Credit Union Board of Directors. These volunteers generously give of their time, talents, expertise, and experience for the betterment of the credit union and have the financial well-being of its members in mind.

Remarks from Linda Carver are recorded in the 85th Annual Meeting report, and more information can be viewed online under the Memberline link. Linda closed the meeting with a heartfelt message of sincere appreciation to all AFCU members and thanked them for their loyalty and trust, looking forward to the future and the continued success of America First Credit Union.

Meeting adjourned at approximately 3:15 p.m. MDT.

Celebrating 85 Years of Service

by Thayne Shaffer, President & CEO, America First Credit Union

On March 16, 1939, 59 people met without fanfare at the Hotel Newhouse in Salt Lake City to form a small financial cooperative. The members of that group believed they would be stronger together, and that by pooling their resources they could create opportunities that would be unavailable to them individually. More than that, they believed in the worth of their dreams, and in each other.

That unassuming gathering was the charter meeting of the Fort Douglas Civilian Employees Credit Union—or, as it has been knowns since 1984, America First Credit Union—and those 59 dreamers were our founding members.

Their new organization couldn’t have begun much more humbly—$788 in shared assets that were overseen by a volunteer treasurer who was only available on Friday afternoons from 3:30 to 4:00. I sometimes wonder what they would say if they could see what their simple act of shared belief has become.

As of this writing, we are now 1,363,881 members and growing. We serve communities in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah—with robust digital services that give our members 24/7 access from virtually anywhere in the world—and our assets total $19.26 billion.

Those numbers are almost incredible by comparison, and I’m sure our founding members would be beyond shocked by the how many and how much of the credit union they created. But I’m also sure they’d instantly recognize our why—because that has never changed.

On March 16, 2024, we celebrate our 85th anniversary, and throughout those eight and a half decades, our why has always been our members. We exist solely to benefit their financial well-being and to help them have access to the products and services they need to manage and utilize their money, support their families, and grow their businesses. For 85 years, we have been people helping people. That’s the principle upon which we were built, it’s the principle that in turn has helped us to strengthen and support communities, and it’s the legacy we proudly carry forward.

Building on such a strong foundation and heritage has allowed us to vastly expand our offerings, and to establish ourselves as a valuable community partner, leader, and resource, and one of the largest and most successful credit unions in the country. Still, as proud as we are of how far we’ve come and how much we’ve accomplished, we know that people and businesses have increasingly varied options for financial services, which is why we will never stop striving to improve and never stop seeking the best ways to serve each of our members and help meet their unique needs. We are profoundly grateful for the trust our members place in us, and honored that they choose us to help them pursue their goals.

85 years ago, a small group of coworkers, friends, and neighbors placed that same trust in each other as they envisioned what they could accomplish together—for themselves and for anyone else who dreamed of greater financial opportunities and freedom. Today, we are committed to not only continuing to realize that vision, but to building and expanding upon it in ways our founders never could have imagined. We owe them, and every member who has and will come after them, nothing less.

America First Credit Union is a Forbes Top 100 Best Midsize Employer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For six years running, America First has been recognized as a great place to work.

 

 

OGDEN, Utah Feb. 15, 2024 – America First Credit Union has been named as one of America’s Best Midsize Employers by Forbes. America First is the highest ranked credit union in the midsize category, and the second highest ranked midsize financial institution overall.

“At the core of every successful organization is a remarkable group of people,” said Kent Streuling, senior vice president of human resources at America First Credit Union. “Our employees’ regard for America First is a big part of why we are once again on Forbes’ list. We are proud of our work culture — it reflects a high standard of service and deep appreciation of our employees.”

Forbes, in collaboration with market research company Statista, selected America’s Best Midsize Employers based on an independent survey of more than 170,000 employees from companies around the country. The survey assessed companies employing at least 1,000 workers within the United States. This year’s method involved evaluating both individual feedback from employees and public reputation scores across industry sectors.

Forbes recognized 400 companies in the midsize ranking and 600 in the large ranking. This is the sixth year in a row that America First has been recognized by Forbes as a Best Midsize Employer, and the credit union rose from 90th on the 2023 list to 75th in 2024. Across the midsize and large employer categories, America First is the second highest ranked credit union employer in the country.

 

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 84 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable, and most progressive credit unions in the country. As Utah’s largest credit union, it has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 118 locations across the five western states of Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. America First is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $19 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1.3 million members.

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Dave Nellis
America First Credit Union
801.827.8606

dcnellis@americafirst.com

 

America First Credit Union Annual Meeting – 2024

In accordance with America First bylaws, the Board of Directors Nominations Committee has identified three members who will stand for election by acclamation at the credit union’s Annual Meeting on April 16, 2024 @ 3:00 PM (MDT).

After thorough interviews and qualification screenings, the Board candidates are:

  • David McConkie
  • Cathy Person
  • John Spease

These volunteers selflessly give of their time, talent, expertise, and experience to enhance our financial well-being, and we congratulate them on their nominations.

We invite all of our members to watch the 2024 Annual Meeting live video stream by clicking the button that will be available on the day of the meeting below.

In addition, we will have a limited number of seats available to attend in person at our Operations Center in Riverdale, Utah. Reservations will be available starting April 11th 2024. Visit this page and click the reservation link below to attend in person.

In-person reservation

America First Credit Union Opens State-of-the-Art Branch in Utah County

New, western Utah County location is built around a tech-centric member experience

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah (Jan. 22, 2024) – America First Credit Union (AFCU) today announced the opening of one of its most technologically advanced branches in Eagle Mountain.

The new, state-of-the-art facility, which incorporates technology inside and out, is the first America First branch built exclusively around video teller machine technology. This new technology provides on-demand support from remotely located America First experts and will allow members to efficiently conduct many additional types of financial transactions through the drive-through.

The Eagle Mountain branch will serve a community of approximately 54,000, including more than 11,000 AFCU members. The new location, 4195 N. Pony Express Parkway, will be a resource to those living in rapidly growing Eagle Mountain, surrounding communities such as Cedar Fort and Fairfield, and to those who travel through and work in western Utah County.

“America First has a strong commitment to the vibrant, growing communities in Utah County where we have served members for decades,” said Thayne Shaffer, CEO of America First Credit Union. “The technology and accompanying member experience underscores this commitment and will serve as a model for future branches.”

The Eagle Mountain branch, the 13th America First has opened in Utah County, will be managed by Angela Platt. She and her team will host the community at an opening celebration on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will feature free refreshments from local food trucks. Additionally, members can enter to win a $5,000 Family Vacation Package with Get-Away-Today by stopping in between Jan. 22 and Feb. 3.

The opening celebration will be followed by an official ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, Feb. 2.

America First will also have several new member offers available at the Eagle Mountain Branch through Feb. 10, including:

  • $150 to new AFCU members (savings, checking, debit, online statement)
  • $50 to new youth members (17 and younger)

Branch information can be found online at americafirst.com.

 

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 84 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable, and most progressive credit unions in the country. As Utah’s largest credit union, it has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 118 locations across the five western states of Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. America First is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $19 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1.3 million members.

The No. 1 credit union SBA lender is hanging out the help wanted sign

Six years ago, when America First Credit Union in Salt Lake City decided to move into Small Business Administration lending, CEO John Lund gave his team simple instructions. “He told us to be No. 1,” Blake Weathers, America First’s senior vice president of commercial lending recalled.

 

America First Credit Union in Salt Lake City is angling to grow its 7(a) lending business by hiring additional loan officers.

 

The $19.1 billion-asset America First responded. Its volume of loans closed under the 7(a) loan guarantee program — SBA’s largest program — jumped from $2.1 million in the agency’s 2017 fiscal year to $3.6 million in fiscal 2018. Fast forward to fiscal years 2022 and 2023, and America First has ranked as the nation’s No. 1 credit union 7(a) lender. In fiscal 2023, it closed 61 7(a) loans for $71.8 million.

While America First would like to continue on a growth path, its progress depends largely on the ability to expand its 7(a) lending team. “We’d like to create greater capacity, but you have to have SBA lenders to do the deals,” Weathers said. “It’s a people business. The number of people we have tells us about where we can get our loans to. We know we’re going to have to add some more loan officers to be able to grow.”

For America First and other credit unions, however, staffing has emerged as a challenge. With experienced SBA loan officers in demand generally, credit unions are doubly disadvantaged since “most of the talent resides in the banking industry,” Weathers said. Though more lenders are signing on with credit unions, according to Weathers, the industry as a whole commands just a fraction of the roughly $30 billion 7(a) market.

According to SBA statistics, credit union 7(a) lenders closed 263 7(a) loans between Oct. 1 and Dec. 21 for $115 million. Banks have generated the lion’s share of the program’s $5.8 billion in fiscal 2024 loan volume. SBA’s fiscal years begin Oct. 1. Under 7(a), the agency provides guarantees ranging from 50% to 85% on small-business loans made by banks, credit unions and other private sector lenders.

“The numbers don’t surprise me simply because SBA lending is a specialized form of lending,” said James Ballentine, founder and CEO of Ballentine Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based government and strategic consulting firm. “There’s special training that’s required to work within [the 7(a)] program. It’s not an area credit unions have traditionally been involved in, despite the fact they were given the authority some time ago.”

 

America First President and CEO Thayne Shaffer

 

For America First, entry into 7(a) lending filled a major gap in its product set. It’s also appeared to play a major role in the company’s success in recent years. Prior to 2017, America First offered small-dollar business loans and was active in conventional commercial lending, Weathers said. Adding SBA participation allowed the credit union to take care of a company’s needs throughout all stages of growth. “We can carry them through their life cycle,” Weathers said.

America First’s balance sheet appears to demonstrate the validity of its 7(a) strategy. Commercial lending, which totaled about $329 million at the end of 2017, exceeded $1.2 billion at Sept. 30. Over the same period, net income jumped more than 300%, to $386.5 million at Sept. 30.

“The minute we started to feel comfortable with SBA lending … our members responded,” America First President and CEO Thayne Shaffer said. “We had a willing and ready audience.” States that comprise America First’s footprint, particularly Utah, Nevada and Arizona, are characterized by high levels of interest in small-business formation, Shaffer, who succeeded Lund in 2021, added. “It’s part of the culture, to be honest with you,” Shaffer said. “It’s not uncommon for people to sit down and have ideas and turn them into small businesses.”

“We have a lot of members that own small businesses,” Weathers said. “It’s probably 15% to 20% of our membership.”

John Reosti   Reporter

Source

America First Credit Union Donates to Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona Through its ‘Touchdowns for the Hometown’ program

For every Wildcats touchdown America First Credit Union donates $100 to the non-profit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TUCSON, AZ – December 1, 2023 – America First Credit Union (AFCU), in partnership with University of Arizona Athletics, is supporting the community through its ‘Touchdowns for the Hometown’ program. For each Wildcats’ touchdown during the 2023 season, AFCU donates $100.00 to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, which means the more touchdowns U of A scores, the more the community scores.

The program culminated with the final game of the season on November 18. By the end of the final game, the Wildcats had scored 44 total touchdowns for the season, resulting in a rounded-up $5,000.00 donation to Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona from America First Credit Union.

“There are so many wonderful organizations doing great work in our communities, and support of those groups is a foundation of America First Credit Union,” said Thayne Shaffer, America First Credit Union President and CEO. “With our ‘Touchdowns for the Hometown’ program, we’re able to support those charitable groups through our support of Wildcats football. The better the team does throughout their season, the bigger the donation to our community partners.”

This season marked the second year of AFCU’s ‘Touchdowns for the Hometown’ program with U of A. Given the success of the program and the support of the community the program creates, America First Credit Union plans to continue the program for years to come.

 

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 84 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable, and most progressive credit unions in the country. As Utah’s largest credit union, it has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 118 locations across the five western states of Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. America First is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $19 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1.3 million members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Dave Nellis
America First Credit Union
801.827.8606
dcnellis@americafirst.com

 

America First Credit Union Donates to Little Lambs Foundation for Kids Through its ‘Blue Zone’ program

Every time the Aggies get into the ‘Blue Zone’, America First Credit Union donates $100 to the non-profit

LOGAN, UT – November 29, 2023 – America First Credit Union (AFCU), in partnership with Utah State Athletics, is supporting the community through its ‘Blue Zone’ program. Every time the Aggies get into the Blue Zone during the 2023 season, AFCU donates $100.00 to Little Lambs Foundation for Kids, which means the more touchdowns Utah State scores, the more the community scores.

The program culminated with the final home game of the season on November 18. Wrapping up a successful season, America First Credit Union presented a $5,000 donation to Little Lambs Foundation for Kids from America First Credit Union.

“One of the pillars of America First Credit Union is supporting organizations that are doing great things to help the communities in our beautiful State. One such organization is Little Lambs Foundation for Kids in Logan, providing diapers for low-income families, and much-needed support to kids in foster care or who find themselves in emergency shelters,” said Thayne Shaffer, America First Credit Union CEO. “Our ‘Blue Zone’ program lets us support these organizations, while also supporting Aggies football and Utah State Athletics.”

“Utah State University Department of Athletics is committed to investing in our communities and families, especially the children within the state,” said USU Vice President and Director of Athletics Diana Sabau. “We are thankful for our partnership with America First Credit Union and the positive impact they have on Cache Valley and the great state of Utah.”

This season marked the second year of AFCU’s ‘Blue Zone’ program with Utah State. Given the success of the program and the support of the community the program creates, America First Credit Union plans to continue the program for years to come.

 

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 84 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable, and most progressive credit unions in the country. As Utah’s largest credit union, it has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 118 locations across the five western states of Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. America First is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $19 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1.3 million members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Dave Nellis
America First Credit Union
801.827.8606
dcnellis@americafirst.com

America First Credit Union and the Real Salt Lake Announce Winner of Inaugural Small Businesses Spotlight

Snider Brothers Meats receives an America First-donated RSL marketing sponsorship agreement

SALT LAKE CITY – Nov. 28, 2023America First Credit Union (AFCU) and Real Salt Lake are excited to announce today Snider Brothers Meats as the grand prize winner of its inaugural “Small Business Spotlight” contest. The Cottonwood Heights-based company was announced as the contest winner during a live finals event at America First Field. As the winner, America First Credit Union will provide Snider Brothers Meats with single-season assets for a marketing sponsorship with RSL and at America First Field, which are tailor-made to assist in their business growth.

“Opportunities like this are once in a lifetime,” said Rachel Wilson, Manager of Snider Brothers Meats. “We are honored to have been selected as the Small Business Showcase Winner by America First Credit Union and Utah’s own Real Salt Lake.  We are looking forward to the possibilities that this partnership presents in growing our business, connecting with our communities, and sharing our passion. We can’t wait to get started!”

 Snider Brothers Meats is a family-owned business with six generations of experience. As a staple in the Cottonwood Heights community for more than 30 years, the company holds true to its traditions and values of the past — service and quality over everything else. Whether it is offering BBQ lessons to customers in the parking lot, teaming up with local schools and sports organizations to raise money or ensuring their lifelong customers make the best selection for their family gatherings, the crew at Snider Brothers strives to make our community more welcoming and better every day.

“We congratulate Snider Brothers Meats on their impressive 30 years as a family business and the well-deserved recognition as the inaugural RSL Small Business Showcase winner,” said Thayne Shaffer, America First Credit Union President and CEO. “At America First Credit Union, we’re proud to support small businesses committed to their community, like Snider Brothers Meats. Thank you to our partners at Real Salt Lake, who help us empower and support local businesses.”

 “It is our privilege as a Club to enrich our community and offer experiences like this alongside a partner like America First Credit Union,” said John Kimball, Real Salt Lake President. “We are so excited to be able to work with Snider Brothers Meats and create a partnership package that will not only highlight and promote their incredible brand but will connect to our passionate fan base and increase their voice in our community.”

 The inaugural contest garnered around 270 entries from small businesses across Utah. Finalists were evaluated on how well they represent Utah, how much they currently give back to the community, and how this opportunity will help them execute their business objectives successfully. The finalists were picked by a panel of judges comprised of AFCU and RSL representatives and community and business leaders.

 

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 84 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable, and most progressive credit unions in the country. As Utah’s largest credit union, it has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 118 locations across the five western states of Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. America First is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $19 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1.3 million members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Dave Nellis
America First Credit Union
801.827.8606
dcnellis@americafirst.com

Kelsey Richardson
R&R Partners
801.913.9454
kelsey.richardson@rrpartners.com

 

America First Credit Union Ranked Top SBA Credit Union Lender in the Nation for the Second Year

West coast-based credit union supports small businesses with more than $71M in SBA Loans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – November 28, 2023 – America First Credit Union (AFCU) ranks as the top Small Business Administration (SBA) credit union lender in the United States. The list ranks all financial institutions across the country based on the approved dollar amount of SBA loans. As the top credit union on the list, AFCU has $71,754,300 in approved SBA loans, averaging $1,176,300 per loan.

“America First Credit Union is proud to be ranked as the number one credit union SBA lender in the nation,” said Blake Weathers, senior vice president of commercial lending at AFCU. “Small businesses are at the very heart of our communities, and it is our honor to work with and support these businesses by providing the resources they need to thrive and grow.”

AFCU employs a dedicated team of small business lenders to support new start-ups and help established small businesses grow. As part of that commitment, the credit union strives to be a trusted business partner, lending financial support to small businesses that, in turn, support their communities.

“As an entrepreneur and businessman, I have worked with many financial institutions over the past 30 years. I can honestly say that our relationship with America First Credit Union has been a breath of fresh air compared to most of those previous experiences” said Jim Huffman, owner of Huffman Health Services. “They are honest, straight forward, and know the meaning of the word ‘partnership’. They have supported the vision and growth of our company, and stepped up when we needed their support. I cannot imagine working with another group, and I give them my highest recommendation.”

“Thanks to America First Credit Union, I was able to secure an SBA-7A loan that allowed me purchase a local sign company that has been in business in Ogden, UT since 1929” said Zena E. Manley, owner of Richards Sign Company. “The prior owners had to retire suddenly due to a health matter, which could have resulted in the closing of the shop and the laying off of myself and several other employees. However, after I spoke to a loan officer at AFCU it became apparent that I was able to purchase the company with the aid of the SBA loan program. Working closely with the loan officer, I was able to easily navigate the federal requirements, applications, and forms for the loan and successfully purchased the company. I found the entire process to be friendly, informative, and highly professional. I would gladly recommend AFCU to other small business owners and look forward to my continued partnership with AFCU.”

In addition to being recognized as the top SBA credit union lender, AFCU supports small businesses in additional ways. The credit union’s Small Business Showcase is held annually with its sports partners, including the Utah Jazz, Las Vegas Raiders, and Real Salt Lake, where small businesses apply for the program, and the winning small business receives a suite of on-site and online marketing opportunities through each team. Additionally, AFCU offers a variety of small business calculators for members to determine startup costs, evaluate the business, and understand business financial ratios, among others.

The SBA list showing the full rankings can be found here: https://careports.sba.gov/views/7a504LenderReport/LenderReport?%3Aembed=yes&%3Atoolbar=no

 

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 84 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable, and most progressive credit unions in the country. As Utah’s largest credit union, it has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 118 locations across the five western states of Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. America First is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $19 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1.3 million members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Dave Nellis
America First Credit Union
801.827.8606
dcnellis@americafirst.com

Robert Benson
R&R Partners
702-318-4249
robert.benson@rrpartners.com